HON. NANCY HARVEY STEORTS: Former Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
First Consumer Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture 
International Safety Consultant 
Author of 3 Highly Acclaimed Books on Safety
Television Commentator and Speaker
Tel: 703-790-5116
The Nation’s Foremost Authority on SAFETY

Filing Claims For Damage From Major Storms

Suggested Recommendations, from Hon. Nancy Harvey Steorts, International Safety Expert, Former Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Author,"Your Home Safe Home", "Safe Living in a Dangerous World.

1. Check your Individual Homeowners Policy for Specific Information on what is covered related to damage from the specific storm.

2. If a Tree Falls on your home, garage or other insured structure, it is covered under you standard homeowners policy for damage to structure and contents within.

3. If a Tree Falls on on your neighbor's property, the claim is filed by the neighbor on their homeowner policy. However, if the their insurance company should find that the tree was not taken care of properly or was diseased, they could try to collect from the person whose property the tree is on.

4. You need to check your specific Insurance Policy, related to actual removal of the tree as to what expenses are covered.

5. If tree blocks driveway or ramp of handicapped person, it may be covered.

6. If tree hits a car, it comes under Comprehensive plan of auto insurance.

7. For businesses, there are separate business policies for trees, and endorsements can be used for additional coverage for expensive landscaping.

8. Insurers give priority to those with most devastating damage.

9. Damage from Flooding is covered under separate Flood Policy from FEMA. National Flood Insurance Program.

10. If insured structure is not damaged, there is no coverage.

11. For Hurricane deductibles- the Policy should state an exact amount of deductible, and it may depend on the "trigger" related to the specific wind speed. Check with your insurance agent or Insurance Company for amount.

12. DOCUMENT EVERY THING: Journal everything that happened, take pictures or video the property.

13. Find all receipts of everything which is being claimed....detail inventory of all damaged or destroyed personal property, describe item, date of purchase, age of item, cost at time of purchase, replacement cost. RECEIPTS and CANCELLED CHECKS Critical!

14. CALL and Report Loss to your insurance company immediately.

15. Make temporary repairs without endangering self. Cover broken windows, damaged roofs......Get all receipts for repairs.

16. ONLY USE LICENSED, BONDED, INSURED, CONTRACTORS..... Check any contractor's references thoroughly. Ask to see licenses.

17. Get DETAILED, line-by line estimates for REPAIRS.

18. Be sure to upgrade your insurance policies, if you have significant improvements made to your home.

19. Check with your individual Insurance Company for all questions, related to your individual situation.Also, check with the Insurance Information Institute for more information.

20. If not satisfied with the way the claim was handled, report your incident to the State Insurance Commissioners Office.